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Old 07-10-2007, 07:59 PM   #31
davevv OP
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Saturday, 6-30-07

I've heard lots of complaints about crossing the border back into the states at Sweetgrass, so my advice to all those folks is that next time they go a little further west and cross at Roosville instead. I pulled up to the crossing with no traffic in front of me and handed the guard my passport. We discussed Buell motorcycles for a couple minutes. He asked if I had any weapons or food. I said no and was on my way. Couldn't have been easier.

About 20 miles down the road, I was cruising along the two lane at 65mph when a doe that had been hiding in the 3' tall grass in the ditch jumped out in front of me. When I saw her come out of the ditch, she was in full stride running from my right to left only about 40 yards in front of me. The only thought I can remember entering my mind was "OH SHIT", and by then I had already grabbed the brakes. Now, the Uly has a great front brake that will easily bring the whole bike over the top if you lock it up, but thankfully I had enough time on the bike to be able to use it properly. I probably had the bike down under 30mph when I whacked her square in the hindquarters. Since most of her weight was forward of where I hit her, it just pushed her rear end sideways. I heard a loud crunch, the front end wobbled a couple of times and then straightened up and continued on.

I pulled over and waited for the shakes to start, but oddly they never came. I must have subconsciously realized all along that I actually had enough distance and time to keep the damage to a minimum, because I've been in a couple other spots over the years that scared the crap out of me, but this time there was no panic. There was no damage to either me or the bike. Just a little of the Alcan dirt scrubbed off the front fender and one of the fork protectors. I later realized the crunch was from the flexible front fender being folded under and springing back into shape. I don't know what happened to the deer, but I doubt she had any serious injuries.

The rest of the day, as you would imagine, seemed pretty uneventful. I stopped at Montana H-D in Kalispell looking for a rear tire since the chip seal roads and heavy load had already eaten the Pirelli down to the beginning of the wear bar. They only had the Dunlop D616, but the shop in Missoula had Pirellis, so I kept on going.

Montana H-D in Missoula


This is a big dealership that handles Harley, Buell and Ducati. The service writer I dealt with was Luke Larsen and he did a great job. There were a half dozen other travelers there that had dropped in without appointments, and they took care of us all very well.

The Uly wasn't due for another service 'til 5000 miles, but I had the oil and filter changed anyway while they put on the new rear. I figured at 3200 miles it wouldn't hurt to get any remaining break-in crud out of the engine. They'd had some kind of event going on there that day and there were a couple of hot dogs left on the grill, so I also got a free lunch out of the deal.

After they had finished the work and washed the bike, I found a cheap but comfortable room at the Brooks St. Motel.
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:15 AM   #32
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Sunday, 7-1-07

The weather has gotten hot since I came down out of Canada and will be getting even hotter as I head towards home. I only had room for one set of riding gear at a time and the winter gear I've used for the last two weeks won't do anymore. Montana H-D only had Harley or Ducati gear and the other shops aren't open on Sunday. I was also a bit tired after 12 days on the road and 3200 miles, so I decided to take today off.

I paid for another night at the motel, did my laundry and after locating the shop that Luke had told me had the best selection of aftermarket gear in town and buying a few groceries, I just laid around the motel and watched TV the rest of the day.

I happened to glance out the window at the bike during the afternoon and noticed a nut was missing from the mount for the drive belt idler pulley. So, I rode back over to the Harley shop and got a replacement.
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Old 07-11-2007, 07:48 AM   #33
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Monday, 7-2-07

I was at the local BMW-KTM-Kawasaki shop when it opened at 9:00. Picked up a vented Tourmaster jacket and some First Gear mesh pants. The guys there offered to ship my winter stuff home. I assume they did, but I haven't seen it yet. (Edit: The gear arrived. UPS was a little slow, but Big Sky BMW shipped the stuff the same day.)

I punched Gardiner, MT into the GPS and headed for the north entrance to Yellowstone. Passed this sign on the way.


Everything I had ever read about Yellowstone said that if you wanted a campsite there you had to get them early in the day because the campgrounds filled up quickly. When I got there about 6:00, I decided to try my luck anyway and it turned out that only two of the campgrounds were already full. When I asked her for recommendations, the lady at the gate said she would choose the Indian Creek campground, so that's where I headed.


While I was setting up camp, the guy from two spaces over walked up and introduced himself.

This was Mike from Austin, TX. He was driving a Ford pickup and pulling an enclosed utility trailer, but the trailer had an '01 1150GS inside. He'd only had the bike a few weeks and I ended up answering a lot of basic GS questions for him.

I rode back to Mammoth Hot Springs and had a sandwich for dinner. Bought a beer and a coke for later and headed back to camp. This is Swan Lake Flats and was on the way back. You can't see them in the picture, but there were six really nice bull elk on the far hill. About 20 elk total in the area, and three bison.

Same lake a sunset.


In the quarter mile between the main road and the campground, I passed a huge bull bison.

Drank the beer while talking to Mike and went to bed about ten. No, I wasn't being rude. I had already found out that Mike doesn't drink beer, but he did have some bourbon there that he had brought along.
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Old 07-11-2007, 08:52 AM   #34
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Tuesday, 7-3-07

When I got up this morning, this guy was about 10 yards from my tent.

This was the bull I had seen last night and he is nearly 6' tall at the top of his hump.

Lots of these guys around too.


With a pickup and trailer, Mike had brought plenty of camping stuff. He even had Starbucks coffee brewing. We had decided the night before to ride down to Old Faithful together, so we left after we finished the coffee.

These were taken in the 40 miles down to Old Faithful. That's steam venting out the side of the hill in the first picture.






At one point along the way we got caught in what is known locally as a "wildlife jam". There was a big 6X6 bull elk laying under some trees about 20 yards from the road and even though there are signs everywhere saying not to stop in the road or approach the wildlife, that's what was happening. There were a couple dozen cars and motor homes beside and in the road. Some of the people were right in front of the elk, less than ten yards away, taking pictures of him. I never heard of anyone getting hurt that day, but that is a truly stupid thing to do.

We got to Old Faithful and had to wait about an hour for the next eruption. The average time between them is 92 minutes.

Waiting.

The event.





Eruption dying off.


From Old Faithful, Mike took off to try to find some dirt roads to ride. I had decided to ride the Grand Loop Road that is a 141 mile loop around the middle of the park.

Yellowstone Lake.


What looks like smoke here is another steam vent.






Bison


Yellowstone River


Canada geese on the river.






This rock formation extends for at least a mile.








Camped between Mike and I was 21 year old Evan and his grandfather. Evan is a fly fishing nut from Pennsylvania and comes to Yellowstone every year to fish. I stayed up 'til 11:30 that night talking to Evan and Mike and drinking a little of Mike's bourbon.
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Old 07-11-2007, 10:50 AM   #35
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Great ride report! Thanks for sharing! I live in NE Montana and have always loved the area you rode through! Beautiful pic's!!! I'm glad the deer didn't ruin the rest of your trip. I've hit one and that SUX!!! Look forward to the rest of the trip! Again thanks for sharing! Walt
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Old 07-11-2007, 11:34 AM   #36
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Great report. Reminds me a lot of when I was up there last year.

I can see that my next trip is going to have to be more concentrated on the pictures. You have done a great job on taking pics.

I rode the '08 Uly this spring and, while I was very impressed with the motor, I prefer the GS riding position. As you said, to each his own. It sounds like you are really enjoying your new bike. Congratulations!
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:10 PM   #37
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Wednesday, 7-04-07

Thanks for the kind comments guys. I'll keep plugging away at the report. There isn't too much left.

Packed up this morning, said my good-byes to Mike and Evan, punched in Sheridan, Wy on the GPS and left at 7:00.

The GPS took me out the northeast entrance of the park, which was about 50 miles from camp. This early in the morning, there wasn't much traffic on the road except for the ground squirrels which were everywhere. I also saw two coyotes and a red fox.

What was probably the majority of the park's bison herd was scattered out along about a ten mile stretch of the Lamar river valley as I went by and there were a few elk and deer mixed in with them. All of the solitary bison I'd seen in the park previously were bulls. This herd (probably 500 or more) was all cows and calves. The cows are only about 2/3 the size of the bulls. The only problem was that they were far enough down in the valley and scattered so widely that pictures wouldn't have shown much so I didn't stop to take any.

Leaving via the northeast entrance puts you on US212 which goes over Beartooth Pass. Elevation at the top is 10,947'. It's a good road with lots of tight switchbacks. Very cool and still lots of snow on the ground. I love electronic fuel injection. The Uly ran as well at that altitude as it has everywhere else.

I got to feel like a celebrity for a little while in Red Lodge as I rode through. It looked like everyone in town was sitting or standing along main street watching as I went by. Obviously they were waiting for the July 4 parade, but it was kind of cool anyway.

Later in the day, I came to the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument.

It also includes a national cemetery with veterans from all wars.


A couple of interesting headstones.




View of the terrain from beside the cemetery.


This is last stand hill and the monument on top. The markers inside the fence are not tombstones. They mark the spots where individual soldiers fell in the battle.








From there, I rode on into Sheridan and stopped for the day.
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Old 07-11-2007, 12:27 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davevv
Thanks for the kind comments guys. I'll keep plugging away at the report. There isn't too much left.
Welcome to the Uly family.

I'm still in love with mine.

Hopefully I'll see you around Dallas.

oh.... and great ride report.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:27 PM   #39
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Thursday, 7-05-07

Started early this morning to try to beat some of the heat and headed for Sturgis to get another tee shirt. Forecast highs were 97 today and 102 tomorrow.



From Sturgis, I rode through Deadwood and on to Mt. Rushmore. Mt. Rushmore was the only place I stopped that had found a way around my National Parks annual pass. They charged $8.00 to park.

Mt. Rushmore was impressive, but a little disappointing at the same time. All the pictures you see are only of the sculpture on the mountain and, from those pictures,I had the impression that it covered the majority of the mountain. Not so. The sculpture is only a small portion of a much larger mountain.








You know the souvenir penny machines that you find in a lot of these kinds of places? The ones that flatten the penny and engrave it with the name of and a scene from the attraction? Well, I have two granddaughters who collect those pennies and even have books to keep them in. This is what I found in the gift shop at Mt. Rushmore.


I had to take the picture to prove that I'd tried. Luckily, as I wandered through the shop, I found another operational machine on the other side of the store.

On every motorcycle trip I have ever taken, I have always had at least one day of heavy crosswinds. Today was that day. I left Mt. Rushmore and rode to Chadron, Nebraska. The whole way if I was headed east, the wind was from the north. When I was headed south, the wind was from the east. It was a minimum of 20mph all afternoon. Man, that gets hard on the neck with a full face helmet and I was wearing an Airoh S4 (similar to Arai XD) with the pointy dirt bike style chin.

Stopped for the night in Chadron and had Chinese food for dinner across the street from the motel.
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Old 07-11-2007, 01:40 PM   #40
davevv OP
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Friday and Saturday, 7-6-07 and 7-07-07

Chadron, NE to Phillipsburg, KS and Phillipsburg to Lewisville, TX

These last two days were just a matter of getting home. The weather was hot. The landscape was dull and I've been through it many times. If you haven't been there, look at the pictures of the Little Bighorn Battlefield and imagine 1000 miles of it. Sometimes there is wheat or corn in the fields, but that is pretty much what it looks like all the way except a lot of it is flatter.

I got home at 6:01 Saturday evening with 5,312 miles on the Uly and it had 10 miles on it when I picked it up.
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Old 07-12-2007, 01:40 PM   #41
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Great ride report, loved it! Glad you made it home safely. I hear you about the long boring ride home for the last bit. I live in the same kind of area, long drone just to get anywhere interesting (3 1/2 hours straight east of Jasper).
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:41 PM   #42
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Man, what a great adventure and ride report. I SOOOO want to do some trips like that and I'm looking forward to the time when I can. Glad you're liking the Uly.
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Old 07-12-2007, 04:43 PM   #43
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Beautiful pics, thanks for the updates

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Old 07-12-2007, 05:01 PM   #44
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Thanks

Great report! Thanks.
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Old 07-13-2007, 10:35 AM   #45
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Thoughts on the trip.

I thought I would take a little time to share some of my thoughts on the trip now that I've had a few days to think about it.

Alaska is a great destination. I've been to Skagway, Ketchican, Juneau, and Glacier Bay previously, and there is a lot to see. However, if you're just looking for the most impressive scenery and don't care about being able to say you've ridden to Alaska or seen the tundra, you don't need to go past Alberta and British Columbia. Jasper, Banff, and Yellowstone national parks were definitely the highlights of the trip as far as scenery goes.

I can't stress enough how beautiful Banff is, but Yellowstone is just as gorgeous, only different. In Banff, the mountains are immense, rugged, and piled one right on top of the other. In Yellowstone the mountains are not quite as tall or rugged and are more spread out. But in between those mountains are big wide beautiful valleys with lakes, streams, and rivers. Some of the valleys are timbered and others are open parks covered with prairie grasses and sage. There are more than 300 geysers, more than 2/3 of the world's total. There's no mystery about why it was our country's first national park. I had planned a trip there about 15 years ago when I was riding an 1100 Honda Shadow, but when the time came it was raining there and the long range forecast was all rain for the next few weeks. So, I went to Carlsbad, White Sands, and northern Arizona instead. I'm certainly glad I finally made Yellowstone.

The Polly grip heaters I had installed work great. In fact, the high range gets too hot and the low range is pretty warm. The Pollys are fitted inside the bars unlike the type that fit under the grip rubbers, so you don't have wires on the throttle side that are constantly moving . That's the main reaosn I chose them, and at about $30.00 I consider them a bargain. However, if you wait for the '08 Ulysses, grip heaters will be available from the factory.

The Laminar Lip was another good choice. With the lip installed, it kept the wind off my chest and shoulders and my helmet was in clean air with no buffeting at all. A very comfortable ride.

I used a Touratech mount for my Garmin 2610 and it too was perfect. It mounts on the crossbar and raised the 2610 to a level just above the Buell tank bag. The GPS did cover the speedometer, but the rest of the instrument panel is visible and the GPS has a speed readout.

The MotoFizz tailbag is the best bag of it's type I have ever used. It has a simple mounting system with four quick disconnect straps that hold it solidly in place. It is expandable, has a large pocket on each end, a holder on the outside for a water bottle, and can be opened from the top or either end for easy access. Lots of straps and D rings also for attaching things to the outside. Both the MotoFizz and the Buell tank bag came with raincovers, but you barely need them. They were only slightly damp inside even after 30 minutes of heavy rain. I believe Aerostich/Riders Warehouse is the only source for MotoFizz in the U.S.

The Eureka Apex tent is a top quality two man tent that sets up in about two minutes. It packs small and light. I think it was only about $90.00.

I've already talked about the Ulysses. If it fits you, and you like that style of machine, it's a great bike. It did 5300 miles with absolutely no issues, and it's about $4000 less than a R1200GS. When I got on my 1100GS the day after I got home, it did feel like the "pig" we lovingly refer to them as. Heavier and clumsier than the Uly, even without the 100 lbs of gear I was carrying on the trip. Dont get me wrong, I like GSs. They're a good machine. But for me, the Uly is a better fit and requires less maintenance to boot.

Thanks to all who have commented on the report. I enjoyed sharing the experience and I'm happy you enjoyed it too.

Dave
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